HLN, riding the back of the Casey Anthony trial, has seen a surge in viewership that almost toppled Bill O’Reilly’s perennial dominance, if only for a night.
On Wednesday night Nancy Grace attracted 517,000 viewers in the advertiser craved A25-54 demographic versus 590,000 for O’Reilly. Considering that O’Reilly usually beats his competition in this demo by a margin of 2-1 or better, the closeness of this ratings battle is surprising, to say the least.
Similar to the news events around the world earlier this year that temporarily catapulted CNN into second place, the Anthony trial is lifting all boats at HLN. Even though Grace wasn’t able to beat O’Reilly, liberal loudmouth Joy Behar did manage to beat Greta Van Susteren and sent Anderson Cooper to an uncharacteristic fourth-place finish that night.
The longer the Anthony trial goes on the better it is for HLN, and there is no doubt that the network is going to milk the story for all it’s worth. They even aired a four-hour special recap Saturday morning which is normally a dead zone ratings-wise and probably attracted another large audience as well.
If HLN can keep this going for a few more weeks, they stand a very good chance of finishing second overall for June and relegating MSNBC and CNN to a distant third and fourth place finish, which would probably bruise a few egos at those networks.
Yet even with the huge surge in viewer interest for the Casey Anthony trial, one thing remains constant — Fox is more than prepared to handle any onslaught by its competitors and will continue to remain the number one cable news network for quite some time.